Jerome-Luc-Martin-The-Gardening-Fires

The Gardening Fires: Sonnets and Fragments

Jérôme Luc MartinPublication: October 15th, 2015

£9.99

Finalist for the 9th annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize

A sonnet sequence set among the pines and inlets of the Mediterranean coast, The Gardening Fires constitutes a remarkable debut collection. Each of its sonnets is followed by a fragment which simultaneously extends and deconstructs the original poem’s language, theme, and music, the formal rigour of the one being balanced against the cascading incompleteness of the other.

As susceptible to the moment of their composition as to the spur of their subject (the loss of love and its haunting persistence), the poems of The Gardening Fires are rooted in a tradition stretching all the way back from Robert Lowell to Petrarch. They re-acquaint us with what carefully meditated, deeply felt, and lovingly crafted poetry can achieve.

paperback  
ISBN: 978-1-904130-66-6 Extent: 80pp Category: Tag:

The Gardening Fires: Sonnets and Fragments

Dédicace

Dear, darling, dear heart, O my mort certaine, my almost
entirely voweled voie aurelienne, my roman road that
runs now next to what I know, that now lies stretching out
into darkness under – under the little loose rain of the morning
across the highway, across the valley, availed of your own
unbuttoned swiftness the maritime alps shake out their misty
rising pleats and, closer, in a pomegranate tree, their purple
catches at the husk of fruit the birds have shucked and
chambered through. The tree is really a thicket and lucidly
bare; the fruit hangs up in strips where day or night, day
or night, distance tears them on the branch.
And where I am
an airport hotel vaster in the ressac of jet-lag winds its rooms
around a central, heated indoor pool that waxes the glass of
hallway doors I buckle in to go to swim.

Dédicace

the saw’s teeth scan the tapering branch –
the sawdust shakes and crumbles, where

from
where the sawhorse leans in wet grass dense among the pines, the
drifts of smoke of gardening fires – that double back and fill before
they rise –

direct our hesitation

Distance wears
its faceless obverse, layered hills

Too late I sent the letters on.

The noise of engines, patience, my
translations of Apollinaire (O mort certaine – O mes délices)
– the Alps on flight-maps, rings around me,

now

the sun has crept across my game of cards

inside the house
the winter sun is drying rabbit’s bones up on my plate.

The Photograph

Those days, in that reflecting, mountain pine-scored light,
I thought I could look at you
secretly.
Into a photograph taken that August your arm
now reaches holding a magazine open. We get
what we want. The darkness, after-dinner glasses, part
of a windowsill, part of a lemon tree, dusty flash-lit leaves like
tiles on an underground bath – across the mirrored pages of
Italian Vogue your arm shows tracing up beneath your tan
a slanting vein that nourishes the purple I remember: your
black nipple, naked in the sun: the purple of the
warrior fly that would not save itself.

Traversed by light,
traversable by light, we get what we want: our days without
quarrels, dewless, sweetworded nights – what we didn’t
mean to have.

The Photograph

dear Agincourt, dear Dien Bien Phu

the glass verandah casts about the flies a trembling maze

my pen retraces
pages cleaned by sun

the royal blue a drop of wine
to chase your slanting vein

Excerpts

Dédicace

Dear, darling, dear heart, O my mort certaine, my almost
entirely voweled voie aurelienne, my roman road that
runs now next to what I know, that now lies stretching out
into darkness under – under the little loose rain of the morning
across the highway, across the valley, availed of your own
unbuttoned swiftness the maritime alps shake out their misty
rising pleats and, closer, in a pomegranate tree, their purple
catches at the husk of fruit the birds have shucked and
chambered through. The tree is really a thicket and lucidly
bare; the fruit hangs up in strips where day or night, day
or night, distance tears them on the branch.
And where I am
an airport hotel vaster in the ressac of jet-lag winds its rooms
around a central, heated indoor pool that waxes the glass of
hallway doors I buckle in to go to swim.

Dédicace

the saw’s teeth scan the tapering branch –
the sawdust shakes and crumbles, where

from
where the sawhorse leans in wet grass dense among the pines, the
drifts of smoke of gardening fires – that double back and fill before
they rise –

direct our hesitation

Distance wears
its faceless obverse, layered hills

Too late I sent the letters on.

The noise of engines, patience, my
translations of Apollinaire (O mort certaine – O mes délices)
– the Alps on flight-maps, rings around me,

now

the sun has crept across my game of cards

inside the house
the winter sun is drying rabbit’s bones up on my plate.

The Photograph

Those days, in that reflecting, mountain pine-scored light,
I thought I could look at you
secretly.
Into a photograph taken that August your arm
now reaches holding a magazine open. We get
what we want. The darkness, after-dinner glasses, part
of a windowsill, part of a lemon tree, dusty flash-lit leaves like
tiles on an underground bath – across the mirrored pages of
Italian Vogue your arm shows tracing up beneath your tan
a slanting vein that nourishes the purple I remember: your
black nipple, naked in the sun: the purple of the
warrior fly that would not save itself.

Traversed by light,
traversable by light, we get what we want: our days without
quarrels, dewless, sweetworded nights – what we didn’t
mean to have.

The Photograph

dear Agincourt, dear Dien Bien Phu

the glass verandah casts about the flies a trembling maze

my pen retraces
pages cleaned by sun

the royal blue a drop of wine
to chase your slanting vein